Being a lighthouse

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” — Albert Einstein

As I was wrapping up the writing of my book Land Whisperer | A Guide to Partnering Energetically with Any Environment, I was shown something I’d been waiting for without knowing it. Something to expand my reach as a land and Earth worker and, equally important, something to sow as seeds within others because this new aspect of the work is about living in community, however “community” is defined. I call this, simply, being a lighthouse.

To give credit where credit is due, medical intuitive Carolyn Myss introduced the lighthouse concept in the late 1990s though not, strictly speaking, by that name. In talking about a person’s purpose, she posed the question: “What if your purpose were simply to be the brightest light on your block?” For me this concept recurred in early summer 2015 in a powerful way, not only enlarging my understanding but spurring the need for action. Here’s the story…

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In spring 2015 I took a drum class with a well-known teacher in the East Bay.[1] Our small group met one evening each week at her home in the midst of an urban neighborhood. The others in class knew one another well from larger, overlapping circles. It was a warm, friendly group and I was welcomed as if I weren’t a newbie at all.

The teacher and I recognized a deeper connection, emailed, and decided to meet to explore that. We got together every Wednesday morning for three weeks running and had intense, wide-ranging, and sometimes surprising dialogue.

Unbeknownst to either of us, the groundwork for much of this conversation had been laid a few weeks earlier. One night near the close of class, my teacher told us she had been verbally attacked late that morning in her own backyard while drumming with a friend by a neighbor upset about noise — that is, the sound of drumming. The incident was traumatizing, and our group was incensed at this affront. Consensus was to write a letter to the neighbor and also have that letter published locally. As I was new to the class and neighborhood, I just listened. I didn’t know enough about the layers or subcultures of the complex community to have an informed opinion yet. I did feel, though, that a letter might just add fuel to the fire and keep things stirred up or, worse, escalate the situation. My teacher already understood that. In fact, she had had the presence of mind when attacked and the awareness skills to damp down the energy rather than meet it or amp it up.

Emails flew hot and heavy over the next couple of weeks to put together the letter; I read them all but did not contribute for the reasons already mentioned and because I was on another track entirely. How, I wondered, could I contribute as a land whisperer? How could I work energetically to help foster common ground, the first step towards resolution, and — dare I say it? — harmony.

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I began investigating how to land-whisper an entire neighborhood at the second of our three Wednesday meetings. I knew this was possible and have alluded to it when writing about the ways the practice can be applied, but this was the first time I’d been confronted with the need to actually do it. In other words, this incident was a call.

My teacher brought up a Google map of the area on the computer. It was unclear how to delimit her neighborhood on the map, but we let that ride for the moment and instead pursued less geophysical understandings of “neighborhood.” To her, “neighborhood” meant “connectedness” and she didn’t feel much of that, or rather the connections that did exist felt tenuous and superficial at best. Over the past two years, this largely black neighborhood had been dismantled through gentrification,[2] and many of the new neighbors were white and, I inferred, higher income. Clearly, the rapid change wrought by gentrification was one layer that needed to be dealt with energetically. We talked about racism, something I’ve never been subjected to but need to understand through the perspectives and experiences of those who have been to land-whisper at the community level. It became clear to me that, for people of color, dealing daily with not only the gross manifestations of racism but also the subtle cues and power distortions must be exhausting. Racism was another layer that needed to be addressed. I quickly saw that community-level land whispering would likely be done layer by layer.

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But it was at our third and final Wednesday meeting that the penny dropped as my teacher told me an unexpected story. She had encountered the verbally abusive neighbor outside a local café on the prior Friday evening. They greeted one another and spoke civilly. My teacher brought up the incident and told the neighbor how traumatizing it had been. The neighbor acknowledged she had been upset before she heard the drumming (evidently the last straw) and had projected all her upset onto my teacher. This seemed to be her version of an apology. Then the conversation took a most unlikely turn: the neighbor said she was thinking about taking a drum class from my teacher! I was stunned. The energy of attack had been transformed.[3] But by what magic?

My teacher then reminded me that she and I had been together last Wednesday, two days before this small miracle occurred. I didn’t immediately get her point…and then, as she grabbed my hand to underscore what she’d just said, I did! Our joint presence and the synergy of our energies were at the root of the transformation. We had been functioning as a lighthouse.

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So what exactly is a lighthouse? Well, here’s what I understand so far:

A lighthouse is an intentional space comprising one or more people in a physical place of any size or configuration. It can be historic and well known in the community or, as in our case, freshly minted. Its purpose is to raise the vibrational frequencies of the energy in the space simply by embodying those frequencies — being and doing become one — or, alternately, through some more formalized practice. Lighthouse work is not about technique, just about getting the job done. Once the energy elevates, everything and everyone within the space are entrained in it and, in ways gross and subtle, changed by it. And because energy is unbounded, the elevated frequencies radiate out like ripples in a pond. This is why lighthouse work has so much potential for communities.

Being a lighthouse is not without its unique requirements and challenges. The ethical considerations of land whispering would come into play in an even more powerful and crucial way because the “client” is an entire community, however defined. Issues of permission and the appropriateness of information-gathering could be complex. As a lighthouse, you would have to be willing to receive the projections of others (as my drum teacher did) without taking them personally. If you’re especially sensitive, you might need energetic protection (shielding) to help slow or mute the projected energies and allow yourself more time to respond appropriately — that is, to respond rather than react.

Being a lighthouse is unlikely to be a one-time event and is not an instant fix. There is no instant fix. A lighthouse could be activated solely for a particular situation, or being a lighthouse could be a path. In any event, community-level change is a layered, evolutionary process, and lighthouse work could help mediate and even accelerate it over time.

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There are probably as many ways to be a lighthouse as there are people and places. My way, at least initially, is probably to create a practice based on my existing land-whispering process — what I’ve written about in the Land Whisperer book — and then let experience and guidance sculpt and refine it. At this moment I have everything to learn and no stories yet to tell. But…stay tuned…

[1] I’ve omitted names and certain other details to protect privacy.

[2] I find both the word “gentrification” and the process it represents problematic; the word is classist, and the process akin to “urban colonialism.” This whole issue needs rethinking, and a fresh and far more inclusive and socially conscious approach. As I’ve since discovered, that process is already in play in the East Bay.

[3] The impassioned letter was never sent or published.




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